Saturday, December 21, 2013

Delhi: Memories, Objects and Change

Dec 22, 2013



Delhi, India.  I shouldn't say Delhi.  I should say Dilli.  I found myself here with a few free hours today, out of an *incredibly* hectic week.  So I went by some old spots, Bengali market, Hanuman Mandir, Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar, ....  The brain is immediately drawn to the sights, so different now, yet still familiar.  The colors, the haze, the crowds, the structures, the spaces.  And beyond the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and, especially, the smells.  The smoky, dusty, musky air.  The fragrances of flowers being sold and foods being cooked, and the foul smells of garbage.  All mixed into an unforgettable reminder of the ephemeral present, that is also, yet, timeless.  More than any other sense, the smell takes you back.  But back where?  I remember being here 30 years ago, shortly after Delhi had seen a great renewal, in preparation of the Asian games in 1982.  The structures are still there, but they are different.  There is Talkatora stadium.  There is RML hospital.  Wow, Bangla Sahib is so different now.  My mom used to go to these places.  This is her Dilli.  And of the rest of us.  I guess most of it is from memory, perhaps the rest is my imagination?  But it isn't only the structures that are different.  It is also us.  We change.  Indeed when we think about it, change is all there is.  The constancy of the twirl, the great movement, both human and beyond, that I see around me, was in that sense also there 30 years ago, just as it is today, and yet it is different.  What is it?  Is it an activity?  Is it nature continually transforming the objects around us in a kind of eternal dance?

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that while we think of the world in terms of objects, things, entities, etc. indeed all these are temporary constructs.  Activities, and their change, seems to be all that is going on around us.  And everything that comes across as objects, I believe, is simply a set of activities in progress that our senses "snapshot" into an object, temporarily, ephemerally, persisting/materializing it in our memories, as though it is a fixed, permanent thing.  Even though it isn't.  Our societies, even our languages, seem to be geared towards "things", not "activities", geared towards particles and objects, not waves and processes.  THe plate of chili chow mein in front of me, seems to be an object, but in fact is something that was flour and water and a bunch of other things that came together into an activity for a short period of time and then disappeared.  It is just a temporary materialization of something we observe and experience.  SOmething that exists only for a moment, and in our senses.

I get the distinct sense that we must improve our ability to articulate actions, activities, processes, and think in these terms more so than in terms of objects, and to think of objects as transient materializations of activities.  And as I think of this, my thoughts drift off to computing.  Us computer scientists, and IT practitioners, are horrible, and horribly primitive, at articulating actions, activities, processes.  Even in purer object-oriented languages, most of the code seems to be about articulating actions.  Whether it is software actions, like "book me a flight to London" or "balance my checkbook" or "repair a customer's credit" or whatever, or more "concrete" actions like commands to a robot to "go to Vishal's office with a cup of tea".  Our ability to articulate actions succinctly and precisely, being able to extend, compose, project on or decompose actions is extremely primitive.  We are still in the dark ages in this regard, and we must improve.  This is one of my endeavors with the work on River and much more needs to be done here.

But all that is for a different day.  Today is about Dilli.  And to head out with some friends on a last evening here for this trip, to observe, and participate in, some activities, to make some memories, in a memorable place.  For Delhi is more than memorable, it is a permanent memory.

-- Vishal

6 comments:

मिर्ची सेठ said...

I happen to be in Dilli at the same time after 3 years. As you said aptly it is the same Delhi but not the same. Now it is the Delhi where Metro is part of life, where there are more Android phones than I see in Bayarea.

I wonder if we would design our systems differently if corporation itself is thought of as a process that adds value to participants.

Mukta Dhanuka said...

Changes is the only constant thing in our lives but we, humans are enterprising enough to embrace this change and that's what matters! :-)

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Nilesh said...

Hi,
Congratulations Infosys , now Infosys Found a execllent CEO.
Nice blog post. I am an Alumni of Infosys worked in infosys from 2005 to 2010. Now self employed in Dairy industry. Can i have some conversation with you, please mail me test at Nileshmnit08@gmail.com.
To cross check my employee ID is 47873.

Thanks,
Nilesh

Bineet kumar said...

I know INFOSYS is a 5 star for our country and i have been a keen follower of it and especially have great admiration for Mr Narayan Murthi.I was really glad when you became the CEO of the company as you are dynamic and wishes to promote freshers,providing them A class training,but lately i have been profusely disappointed .

I attended off campus recruitment drive in New Delhi on 5th February 2015 at Northern India Engineering College. I was called for the interview on 12th feb. I received login credentials on 17th February. I received the regret email march 24 but when I log in I am shown "in Process" as the status.I am shocked to see that people don't update portals, they are rude when we call them on the company numbers, Also my sole question is that why kept us on hold for 2 months and then send the regret letter,while some got the rejection in a week?They say that there is no requirement so they cancelled the whole process,which is acceptable but altogether strange, as such a big IT setup it is, and it doesn't know its requirements? does the company hold random offcampus drives??I cancelled my MBA this year in a hope to get an offer letter.

I don't blame anyone for that, as it was my decision to choose infosys over premiere institutes.

sir, I am a very ambitious boy and i wish to become like you one day. But this whole infosys experience has been a sheer disappointment and its just not me. There are many talented applicants hoping over the same agenda. Sir ,don't we hold a right to work in good companies and get great experience? please see to this and please ensure a transparent process and please let us know that why is it that we received the rejection letter so late, while many got it in a week's time. Why kept us waiting for nothing?. Its just a case of acquiring talents and not letting them apply else where. I believe company should to change the way they recruit us. This procrastinated rejection might not affect the company, but it has been a devastating boulder in our career. Please listen to our plea I am sorry to have used this platform, but i didn't have any other way to contact you.

and your blogs are great!

Thanks and regards,
A concerned Indian and a potential applicant.